Youth theatre has always been important to acta, and by 1987 we had managed to establish ten of them all over Avon – including Easton, Kingswood, Knowle West, Eastville, Central Bristol, Yate, Bournville (Weston Super Mare), Lockleaze. Every week teams of acta workers and volunteers packed into a very rickety old van and took our life in our hands as we careered over the county, delivering workshops and making theatre in a host of unlikely places. Of course, this wasn’t hard enough for us, so we decided to bring all the groups together to make a play in two weeks, starting from scratch, in the most unlikely venue yet – the disused outdoor swimming pool in Eastville Park! The project had a massive team of acta workers, freelancers and student volunteers, and every day we picked up young people from their local areas and took them to the Park to devise and rehearse.
It was a wonderful, crazy, exhausting fortnight, culminating in amazing performances which mixed theatre, dance, giant puppets, original music and song. The young company were wonderful, and the whole event was massively memorable – not least for the fact it was the first experience of dance for Fleur Darkin (who is now Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre) and the first performance of poetry by poet Rommi Smith (then a member of our BEAD Youth theatre).
The top photo shows the lovely, funny, talented Sally Price, an original member of Kids Theatre who very sadly passed away last year, leaving a massive hole in the lives of all who knew her.